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Quick Hits: Starbucks Going Through Water Like It's, Well, Water


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Tabloid newspapers, especially the British tabs, are adult comic books - just what we need as the credit crunch chews at the economy.

The Sun, best known for the bare-breasted babes on its page 3, sent crack investigative journalists around England, the US, Australia, China, Austria and even Romania to bring you this tidbit: Starbucks (SBUX) leaves the tap running all day, wasting 23.4 million liters of water a day, or about 6.07 million gallons.

The water is kept running at the "dipper well" behind the counter, used for washing spoons and utensils. Staff members say health and safety rules prohibit them from turning off the water. Supposedly, the constant flow of water prevents germs from breeding in the tap. Experts dismiss this claim as "nonsense," the newspaper says.

"Starbucks has built up a massive chain, popular with coffee drinkers from Hollywood stars to builders, and proudly boasts of its work for the environment," The Sun huffs.

Water shortage is a major problem worldwide, in case you were wondering.

"A single Starbucks tap left running or just over 3 minutes wastes the amount of water one African needs to survive for a day in drought conditions," the newspaper reports.

The Sun launched its investigation after a Starbucks executive revealed the open-tap policy in a letter to a British couple who complained about constantly running water at a store in their neighborhood.

"Our undercover team checked Starbucks outlets across the UK and around the world and found some baffled staff did not use the running tap and did not even know what it was for," the newspaper reported.

Whew! Now you know.

Starbucks has closed about 600 stores as customers cut back on unnecessary expenses. The company slugs it out with blue-collar Dunkin' Donuts in the $50 billion market.

For more on Starbucks, check out Hoofy and Boo's always astute report.
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